Bitcoin – Four Years In
Wednesday October 12, 2016
October 9th marked 4 years since I first registered my GPG key into the Web of Trust. As those years have passed, the pandemonium fortress that is IRC has weathered the storm of idiots attempting to unleash an Eternal September onto Bitcoin. The saddest thing is as the idiots cheer themselves into a stupor, the real enemy has successfully created immigration checkpoints known as KYC (know your customer), in an attempt to apply capital controls to Bitcoin. The invisible war continues, but I remain hopeful.
In September 2012, I bought $400 of Bitcoin, totaling approximately 22 BTC, and invested it on GLBSE for entertainment, upon which GLBSE closed and nominal losses turned to realized losses overnight. The greatest lesson I learned here is easily earned money, in perception, tends to amount to scammer money. As Dave Chappelle once said imitating Puff Daddy, “You can’t choke all your problems away. It takes hard work.”
Slowly I started grinding on my own projects while interacting with truly enlightened peers on IRC, which had the nuanced effect of me applying the same skepticism of a diligent Bitcoin consumer to my so called fiat-life. Well this skepticism nearly always turned over scams of the leadership, despite their appeals to emotion. In detecting the dishonest leaders in the so-called professional salt mines, I learned the real truth to job security: usefulness.
The professional world of white-folk offices in the US are a spawn of the ancient Wall Street conman, or the group of people that caused a national economic collapse multiple times in one century. Historically the white-collar offices of US white-folk in skyscrapers were paper pushing machines used to churn forward the unnecessary mega-bureaucracy of processes someone once thought were good. There is this joke in Futurama where the head bureaucrat (Number 1.0), asks his security guards to bring him forms to sign and notarize to have a someone removed from the premises. This is reality of the inefficieny that is an office, or the so-called “too big to fail” company. With these inefficiencies in nearly every nook and cranny where work supposedly takes place, the friction slowly erodes away the productive effort. An idealist believes they can make an impact to climb the corporate ladder quickly by routing around the blockades, while the truly productive will drag their feet bringing work to a halt until the inefficiencies are somewhat resolved. Ron Swanson and working for the US government comes to mind when thinking about a work life where one literally must do as little as possible for the greater good.
Bitcoin freed me from a lifetime of inhumane captivity. It showed me not only how money works in actuality, (not the fake stuff they call the US dollar or Euro), but the simplicity in the notion that honest work should not only be rewarded, but respected. There is never a replacement for hard work. That is the first lesson.
The conman always looks for the easiest short term solution, particularly when dishonest work cuts the corners honest work doesn’t allow – in particular the conman seeks gains at the loss of others, as long as it’s easy. Unfortunately the endearing novice wants to believe their effort can be amplified through magic, in turn reaping great rewards, but this naïveté is the vulnerable vector the conman uses for exploitation.
Whenever hard work is substituted for something that seems higher priority, the consequence is nearly always at your loss.
The skepticism of a diligent bitcoin user inevitably feeds an insatiable thirst for knowledge and truth. Bitcoin automated the monetization of applied cryptography, deriving value from the ability to provide irrefutable proof in the face of skepticism. The system to verify claims serves as the very foundation of the scientific method. Learn to verify everything yourself. That is the second lesson.
Ignorance is no excuse for vulnerability. Once lack of knowledge is recognized, the path to discovery can start. Verification inevitably leads to truth.
Trust, like hope and faith, must be freely given. Bonds formed from honoring trust are extremely strong and difficult to break. Inevitably operating without enforcement, but out of goodwill creates stronger relationships than those forced through coercion. Blind trust exists only as a conman’s tool. This was the hardest to learn, but most beneficial lesson.
Loyalty to the end in upholding contractual obligation without any coercive enforcement allows for an unprecedented community to exist. Imagine a business partner with whom you’ve done millions of BTC worth of business using the unenforceable GPG contract. This relationship has millions of BTC entrusted throughout the duration of its existence, without the need of any force.
These lessons fueled me – Bitcoin wasn’t a revolution, it was a damn renaissance.
Eventually I became well versed enough to write The Hard Fork Missile Crisis which caused a lot of butt-hurt for the truly ignorant. The response to the article made me feel just like Chappelle. The stupidity I had avoided was slowly seeping through the cracks. These were nothing but scammers wanting to bypass hard work for the fruits of labor. However the final and most important lesson I learned finally sunk in – Bitcoin exists to reveal truth and incentivize honesty. No one has the authority to change Bitcoin, humanity must change for Bitcoin.
When you use Bitcoin, you must obey its physical laws – the laws present when you joined. Changing those rules when its fitting for a group of individuals is the nature of politicians. When one is losing the game, change the rules of the game.
Fortunately the anarchistic spirit of Bitcoin remains intact, as those most vigilant continue to defend us from the Eternal September.